Account of Important Events in My Life

My aunt, when doing cleaning, came across an essay answer to a questionnaire that my cousin Alex wrote in 2001 for a high school entrance application.

Account of Important Events in My Life

Two years ago my aunt died of heart failure. I began to grow closer to her a few months before her death because I became old enough to understand about family ties, and respect. She was a biological chemist who contracted rheumatic fever when young, and she had to fight her weak heart all her life. Her field of work was in heart rhythm. She devoted most of her time to studying ways to automatically revive hearts that go out of rhythm (called arrhythmia) with medicine instead of using machines that shock the heart into beating regularly. She conducted extensive research, wrote many scientific papers, and gave numerous talks at scientific conferences on her work. Her death impacted me in ways that were greater than my grandparents’ deaths. I was old enough to see that life can leave unexpectedly. During my time on earth, I want to achieve notable goals, like my aunt, and when it is finally time for me to move on, I hope I can leave this world as peacefully as she did — while resting from studying — her heart simply stopped beating.

That aunt was my mom. I love you too, Mommy Chay, this mother’s day, and always.


My mom with my older brother, 1969. Today my girlfriend stumbled across this photo in my ScanCafe account.

We’re dying

From my cousin:

My mom forwarded me your presentation about your mom which was forwarded from your uncle which was forwarded from our cousin (haha!), and it was very nice.

I still remember when we came up to Pittsburgh for your mom’s funeral. I was only 12 and I remember only one story at the eulogy—so this was good to watch too—and I don’t remember if you or Ken said it but it was about…

Of course it was in a larger story where the people in the audience had laughed, but that was the quote I remember.

I forgot that story and that was one my mom liked to tell her university students. It was in the part of the eulogy where I talk about my mom and me (the second story). It goes like this…

Mom had a heart condition which made life tough on her and she sometimes, when she was tired or exasperated physically, she’d say, “I’m dying!”

“Terry, I’m dying!” She exclaimed one time when I was seven.

I was feeling irritable that day. “Mommy! I’m dying; you’re dying. From the minute we’re born, we’re dying!” I said.

Ever after that, when she’d want to say she’s dying, she’d follow it up with that quote: “Ahh! I’m dying …(pause)… ‘Mommy! From the minute we’re born, we’re dying.’”

And then she’d quietly smile to herself.

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